Amsterdam Schiphol airport said that a new evaluation of issues at the airport during summer 2022 had given it “motivation to improve”.

There were widespread delays and cancellations at Schiphol last year following the surge in demand resulting from the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, with the airport being forced to introduce capacity caps and compensate affected passengers.

Schiphol subsequently employed PwC Strategy to produce a report on the issues and to make recommendations for improvement, with group CEO Ruud Sondag admitting that 2022 “was not a good year” for the airport.

“The conclusions are obvious: the whole system – from security to handling – came close to breaking point during the spring and summer of 2022,” said Sondag.

“Operational bottlenecks at Schiphol and chain partners were not entirely new, but they painfully came to the surface in these months.”

Writing to Mark Harbers, the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Sondag said that Schiphol “has a plan to make structural improvements and that PwC’s recommendations support this plan”.

Sondag added that “travellers experienced a good journey from Schiphol” during this year’s May holiday period, which he said showed that measures that have already been taken “are effective”, but he admitted that there was “still a lot of work to do”.

He said that the report was in line with insight that the group “ has become increasingly aware of in recent months”.

“That insight is that, for a long time, there was too little attention to three fundamental issues: the quality of work for everyone working at the airport, care for our environment and the quality of our infrastructure and buildings.

“Quantity took precedence over quality and that has not been advantageous for working conditions, the enjoyment of life in the surrounding area and the state of our terminal and everything in it.”

Sondag said that the group would soon present its plans regarding investment, including catching up on significant maintenance backlogs, improving and renewing infrastructure and improving working conditions.

He claimed that emphasis in recent years on cost efficiency and competition had been partly brought about by government policies, laws and regulations, but admitted it “has gone too far”, pointing to an “enormous drop in reliability at Schiphol” which had been “difficult to repair”.

Sondag said that prior to the May holiday 2023 period extensive work had been done to recruit new colleagues, as well maintaining equipment including security filters, elevators and the baggage system.

But he said that “More needs to be done in order to structurally resolve the operational problems and regain the trust of travellers, airlines and society”.

Sondag also highlighted the airport plans for “a cleaner, quieter and better Schiphol. In April the group published new proposals to limit night flights at the airport, as well as banning private jets and “the noisiest aircraft”.

These have however been met with resistance from the Netherlands’ flag carrier KLM, which last week published its own three-pronged plan to reduce night-time noise levels.

KLM outlines three-pronged plan to reduce night-time noise levels

Have you flown through Amsterdam Schiphol airport recently? Let us know your experience in the comments below.,